Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Periodicals


Unique Characteristics of
Scholarly Journal and Popular Magazine Articles

How can you tell the difference between these two types of periodical articles?

Scholarly Journal

Popular Magazine
How long is the article? Usually longer articles, providing in-depth analysis of topics Usually shorter articles, providing broader overviews of topics
Who wrote the article? The author is usually an expert in the field and their name and credentials are almost always provided Author is usually a staff writer or a journalist and their name and credentials are often not provided
Does the type of language in the article suggest an intended reading audience? Written in the jargon of the field for scholarly readers (professors, researchers or students) Written in non-technical language for a general audience
What is the structure of the article? Articles may include these specific sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography Articles do not necessarily follow a specific format or structure
Are there illustrations? Tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs that support the text are often included Illustrations with glossy or color photographs are usually included for advertising purposes
Who are the Editors? Articles usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field (refereed) Articles are evaluated by editors on staff
Is a bibliography or list of works cited included? A bibliography (works cited) and/or footnotes are always provided to document research thoroughly A bibliography (works cited) is usually not provided, although names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text

Still can't tell the difference? These resources can help:
Magazines for libraries / Located at the Mortola Reference Desk- Call #Z6941.M23
Ulrich's international periodicals directory / Located at the Mortola Reference Desk -Call #Z6941.U5

Design concept from the University of Texas at San Antonio Library,